JICMail reports on partially addressed mail impact

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Wednesday 18 September 2019

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The Joint Industry Committee for Mail (JICMail) has published new audience data that highlights the reach and interaction rates of partially addressed mail.

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Partially addressed mail items were found to live in the home for 7.2 days

The publication, titled ‘7 Essential insights on Partially Addressed Mail’, analysed JICMail item data from Q4 2017 to Q2 2019 and included 2,428 partially addressed items, 49,755 direct mail items and 23,416 door drop items.

Partially addressed mail is a new GDPR-compliant way of targeting customers by using their postcode data rather than personal data.

The partially addressed findings were based on mail identified by JICMail panellists –  who record their interactions with each mail piece delivered to them – as ‘Addressed to Householder or Occupier’.

JICMail’s findings showed that, for every 100 people reached with partially addressed mail, an additional 10 people will see a mail item. This 1.10 item reach figure compared with 1.13 for direct mail and 1.05 for door drops.

Furthermore, partially addressed items are interacted with almost four times on average over a 28-day period, with a frequency of 3.97. This compared with 4.17 for direct mail and 2.76 for door drops.

Partially addressed items were found to live in the home for 7.2 days compared with 7.69 for direct mail and 5.5 for door drops.

The research also found that there were high interaction rates with partially addressed mail across all life stages, with homeowners the highest at 3.97, followed by retired (3.78), families (3.77), millennials (3.46) and social group A (3.4).

26% of partially addressed mail items were found to prompt a commercial action, compared to 31% of direct mail and 10% of door drops.

It was also found that partially addressed mail is effective at driving online traffic – with 14% visiting the sender’s website, and word of mouth – with 13% discussing the mail item with someone else.

Mark Cross, engagement director at JICMail, which was launched in early 2018, told Printweek: “I think because partially addressed mail physically looks more like a letter than a leaflet, it intuitively makes sense that it is tending closer to direct mail than door drops.

“The proposition that is being tested in the marketplace is supported by this audience data. We've been going around our partner subscribers as there have been various seminars around partially addressed mail and the early indicators are that, as a hybrid between the two, it is getting strong traction from the early efforts.”

DMA head of insight Tim Bond added: “When you look at the way that people react to addressed mail, the big thing is that opening – it is a tactile experience that is really unique, so it doesn’t surprise me hugely that partially addressed is close to that interaction because you still pick it up, open it, pull out the contents and investigate it.

“Door drops still have their power, but the likelihood is they are more something that is glanced at. If you can get a door drop onto somebody’s fridge, that’s the ideal.

“The different life stages are interesting – partially addressed mail interaction is not unique to a particular group, you’ve got anyone from retired right down to millennials still with a really high interaction rate.

“And when you look at that actually prompting a commercial action, it is really impressive that one in four people are taking an action from partially addressed mail.”

Bond said he always believed partially addressed mail would sit between direct mail and door drops in terms of performance.

“I think the fact that it is closer to direct mail on a lot of these findings is really encouraging. It will be interesting to see over time how those change and fluctuate depending on things like the time of year. And if more marketers and brands start to see that opportunity, what then becomes the knock-on effect – will that reduce interaction rates and is there going to be a sweet spot?”

Birmingham-based mailing operation Bakergoodchild has recently started offering partially addressed mail to its customers, following a short trial with a selection of key clients.

Sales director Adam Stafford said: “There’s something about receiving an addressed piece of mail – even though it’s called partially addressed it’s still got an address on it – in the post. Generally speaking, people are still only getting one or two letters in the post a day.

“It’s also a physical item that generally people have to open and interact with. So for me it means that you get a big majority of the benefit of direct mail and it’s also cheaper.

“We haven’t seen a migration from direct mail to partially addressed, it’s more people trying it as a new channel, maybe in the mix with their door-to-door and their direct mail, depending on the penetration that they’ve got in any demographic.”

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